5 Tips for Planning Family Photos for Holiday Gatherings

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Sometimes it’s prudent to plan ahead. Especially if you’re doing photo family greeting cards for the holidays (link), or if you’re trying to capture fall colors in your family photo (link). But sometimes you can’t plan ahead; you have to get your family picture done during the holidays, when everyone is in town.

Tired of not getting the family photos you want? Check out these 5 easy tips for getting those priceless photos and cut out the stress this holiday season!!
I’ve done a number of family portraits over winter break, when all the relatives have come together for a brief time. It may not be the most convenient time to schedule a portrait for my clients, but the results — having a photo will all the family — are definitely worth it.  For the holidays, I’ve done family photos in the studio and family photos at  a client’s home.

So, what does it take to make this work? Just a bit of planning on your part.

1. Decide whether to hire a professional.

I’ll suggest you do — because it’s just easier for a photographer (who is used to working with, say, 15 people at a time). If you go with a pro, you won’t have to worry about running back and forth, making sure everyone is smiling, or that your relatives will approve of the picture you got. It will be less stressful for you if you pass off the baton. That being said, if you choose to do it yourself, make sure you have a tripod — no sense in propping your camera haphazardly where it could fall, all in the name of “getting the shot.”

2. Let everyone know.

It’s imperative that your relatives know a picture will be happening, and that they need to be prepared it will take an hour or however long out of their holiday. If you have family members who don’t like getting their picture taken, they may grumble — but if you’ve invested in a professional photographer, they may be more likely to asquiece so they don’t “waste” your money.

3. Choose a location.

Sometimes having everyone go to the photography studio is easier, but other times it’s more practical (and memorable) for the photograph to be taken in your home. If you go the second route, it may make those grumblers a little less grumbly about picture time — it will be in an environment they know (less stress).

4. Coordinate clothing.

This is especially important if you have relatives coming in from out of town. They need enough time to find (and pack) appropriate clothes for their visit. tLet all your relatives know that a picture will be happening — and let them know what to wear if you want something more timeless than a snapshot. While you don’t have to wear matching uniforms, it is good to pick a color palatte so that your family portrait looks cohesive.

5. Coordinate around naptimes.

If you’re trying to include any children in the photos, make sure to find out what times are particularly good (or bad). Don’t schedule the photos for just before dinner — your chances of having cranky and hungry people in the picture are much higher.

Do you have any tips that have been successful? What about things that didn’t work?

You might also be interested in planning ahead with family photos for holiday greeting cards!

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A lifelong bookworm and creative soul, Betsy lives in Michigan with her husband, (soon-to-be-two) boys, and two cats (Betsy's story).  You can read more of her thoughts on life and creative musings at BPhotoArt.com.  There, Betsy blogs about a hodgepodge of topics including fine art and portrait photography, parenting, capturing memories, and finding contentment in the journey of life.  You can also find Betsy on FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest, and Instagram.
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